Primary Genre(s): Fiction, Thriller
Published: 7 May 2019 by Park Row Books
Page count: 304
Memorable Factor: High
Ending: Heartbreaking, Satisfying
Would I recommend it: Yes!
Commission Link: https://amzn.to/2XHTj83
My rating: ★★★★☆
THE EAST END opens with Corey Halpern, a Hamptons local from a broken home who breaks into mansions at night for kicks. He likes the rush and admittedly, the escapism. One night just before Memorial Day weekend, he breaks into the wrong home at the wrong time: the Sheffield estate where he and his mother work. Under the cover of darkness, their boss Leo Sheffield — billionaire CEO, patriarch, and owner of the vast lakeside manor — arrives unexpectedly with his lover, Henry. After a shocking poolside accident leaves Henry dead, everything depends on Leo burying the truth. But unfortunately for him, Corey saw what happened and there are other eyes in the shadows.
Hordes of family and guests are coming to the estate the next morning, including Leo’s surly wife, all expecting a lavish vacation weekend of poolside drinks, evening parties, and fireworks filling the sky. No one can know there’s a dead man in the woods, and there is no one Leo can turn to. With his very life on the line, everything will come down to a split-second decision. For all of the main players—Leo, Gina, and Corey alike—time is ticking down, and the world they’ve known is set to explode.
Told through multiple points of view, THE EAST END highlights the socio-economic divide in the Hamptons, but also how the basic human need for connection and trust can transcend class differences. Secrecy, obsession, and desperation dictate each character’s path. In a race against time, each critical moment holds life in the balance as Corey, Gina, and Leo approach a common breaking point. THE EAST END is a propulsive read, rich with character and atmosphere, and marks the emergence of a talented new voice in fiction.
I was invited to participate in the Blog Tour for this book. This is my very first blog tour and I am excited that the book was great and deserves the raves I’m sure it is going to receive. Here are my pros and cons:
- This story takes place over a couple of days. It almost feels like you are reading and experiencing it real-time. I liked the fast, tense pacing.
- This story will grab your attention from the very beginning. I read this super-fast because I didn’t want to put it down. Start this book when you have at least 4 hours to spend on it – you won’t want to stop reading until you are done!
- As the author bio below states, the author worked in a variety of blue-collar jobs for wealthy home owners in the Hamptons. This firsthand knowledge definitely comes through in the story and makes it not only believable, but relatable.
- The plot was convincing and realistic and the characters felt genuine… even the unlikeable characters! Some might find the characters stereotypical, but I am guessing that the author’s life and experiences are coming through in this story, thus presumably making the characters pretty darn realistic from his perspective.
- The story was presented in multiple points of view so you could understand each character’s situation as certain things happened throughout the book. The main plot is actually fairly simple, but the overall presentation of the story is intricately crafted and well written.
- As I was reading this book, the Walter Scott quote “O, what tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive” kept coming to mind. It is amazing what people do out of fear, desperation and/or greed.
- I thought the author explored the wealth disparity between the estate owners and the local residents with a gentle hand. While the frustration of seeing some people have everything while others struggle with nothing definitely came through loud and clear in the story, the author also showed that not all things are necessarily as we assume. While money may provide luxuries and make the day to day frustrations of life easier or even non-existent, it doesn’t guarantee one will have a fulfilling and happy life.
- I thought the writing was superb with one small personal nitpick. Occasionally the writing tended to lean just a little bit toward being too descriptive and padded in my opinion. Perhaps the author’s past experience with poetry affected this? He is definitely a talented writer… but I recall one instance when the author was describing the time that stood out to me in particular and unfortunately I didn’t note the exact quote. I’m making this up as an example, but it was like describing the time as “just before 9 with the minute hand half way between the 6 and the 12″ instead of just saying it was eight forty-five. Even though certain descriptions stood out to me as a tad excessive, in reality there weren’t that many instances of it in the book, and they were only momentary distractions.
- The multiple point of view format, while interesting as I stated in Pro #5 above, did result in a bit of repetitiveness.
I am super impressed that this is a debut novel by the author. I haven’t read any of his previous poetry collections, but I am admittedly interested now and I anxiously await his future novels.
I predict this book will do very well… as a matter of fact, I can easily see this developed into a movie at some point. You should definitely read this book if you are a fan of intricate thrillers.
Thank you Park Row Books for a free electronic ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Jason Allen grew up in a working-class home in the Hamptons, where he worked a variety of blue-collar jobs for wealthy estate owners. He writes fiction, poetry, and memoir, and is the author of the poetry collection A MEDITATION ON FIRE. He has an MFA from Pacific University and a PhD in literature and creative writing from Binghamton University, and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, where he teaches writing. THE EAST END is his first novel.
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